2016 Indspire Awards Honour 14 Indigenous Achievers In Vancouver Tonight

14 Indigenous achievers to be honoured in gala at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

VANCOUVER, Feb. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Fourteen First Nation, Inuit, and Métis individuals from across the country will be honoured tonight at the 2016 Indspire Awards gala at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. The ceremony, hosted by Evan Adams and Inez Point, will feature Indigenous talent from British Columbia, as well as from across the country, including the following:

Murray Porter

– Juno award-winning blues musician


– vocalist and advocate for LGBT equality and young Indigenous women's rights

Suzette Amaya

– former Big Brother Canada star and motivational speaker

Jace Martin

– multiple award winning singer

Stephanie Harpe

– rock and blues vocalist and actress

Roseanne Supernault

– award-winning actress (Blackstone, Rhymes for Young Ghouls)

Sarain Fox

– choreographer, dancer, and artist

Spakwus Slulem (Eagle Song Dancers)

– traditional singers, drummers, and dancers

Michael Demski

– martial artist and dancer

Aria Evans

– emerging interactive artist


The 14 Indspire Awards recipients, including three youth recipients and one lifetime achievement honoree, will be celebrated by approximately 2,000 gala attendees, including almost 500 Indigenous youth from across Canada.

The 2016 Indspire Awards recipients are as follows:

Lifetime Achievement:

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph – Gwawaenuk First Nation, BC


Joseph Boyden – Ahmic Lake, Ontario

Business and Commerce:

Clint Davis – Nunatsiavut, Labrador

Culture, Heritage, & Spirituality:

Elder Mae Louise Campbell – Ojibwa/Saulteaux, Manitoba

Culture, Heritage, & Spirituality:

Chief Jim Ochiese – Foothills Ojibway First Nation, Alberta


Jo-Ann Episkenew – Métis, Saskatchewan


Pat Mandy – Mississaugas of the New Credit, Ontario

Law and Justice:

Mark Stevenson – Victoria, British Columbia


Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell – Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne, Ontario/Quebec/NY

Public Service:

Leonard George – Tsleil-Waututh Nation, British Columbia


Carey Price – Ulkatcho First Nation, British Columbia

Youth – First Nation:

Christian Kowalchuk – Big Stone Cree Nation, Alberta

Youth – Inuit:

Laura Arngna'naaq – Baker Lake, Nunavut

Youth – Métis:

Zondra Roy – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


"Tonight will be a magnificent evening of celebration of the Indigenous peoples of Canada," said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire and Executive Producer of the Indspire Awards. "We will recognize the life journey and accomplishments of 14 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis visionaries, activists, and role models, who have – with passion, courage and tenacity – converted their gifts, energies and determination into achievement."

This year's gala theme – Indigenous Perspective – as envisioned by Jennifer Podemski, Co-Executive Producer of the Indspire Awards, explores the introduction of a new paradigm that shifts away from inaccurate perceptions of Indigenous peoples. The set design reflects Coast Salish and other Indigenous communities in British Columbia.

The Indspire Awards is made possible by the generous support of a number of individual, government, and corporate supporters, including presenting corporate sponsor CIBC.

"CIBC has been a proud sponsor of the Indspire Awards since their beginning, and we are honoured to be part of this national celebration of the accomplishments, talents, and dedication of these role models," said Victor Dodig, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, a proud partner of Indspire, it is my great pleasure to congratulate the outstanding individuals honoured this evening," said the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. "I'm proud to be part of this evening's event, which pays tribute to some of the exemplary achievements of Indigenous People. They truly are an inspiration to all Canadians – especially youth – in every community from coast to coast to coast."

"We are very proud of Shell's 30-year partnership with Indspire to secure a brighter future for Indigenous youth," said, Michael Crothers, Shell Canada President and Country Chair. "Congratulations to all of the 2016 Indspire Awards recipients. Your inspirational leadership is building a lasting legacy for your communities and for all Canadians."

The 2016 Indspire Awards sponsors and supporters include:

Presenting Corporate Sponsor:


Lead Partner:

Government of Canada

Indigenous Youth Sponsor:

Shell Canada Limited

Regional Partner:

Government of British Columbia

Major Sponsors:

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Frog Lake Energy Resources Corp., Shaw Media, Suncor Energy Inc., Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Official Airline:

Air Canada

Pre-gala Reception Sponsor:

Teck Resources Limited

Participating Sponsors:

FortisBC, Tuccaro Inc. Group of Companies

Government Partner:

Government of Northwest Territories

Host Hotel:

The Westin Bayshore

Supporting Sponsor:

Aquilini Investment Group


The Canadian Screen Award-nominated show will be broadcast nationally by media partners Global Television and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) at a later date.

About the Indspire Awards

The Indspire Awards have celebrated the significant contributions of Indigenous people in Canada for 23 years. The Awards are aligned with Indspire's mandate to provide educational support and programs for future generations to succeed. They promote self-esteem and pride for the Indigenous community and provide outstanding role models for Indigenous youth. They recognize the success of individuals who have the discipline, drive and determination to set high standards and accomplish their goals.

The national jury for the Indspire Awards is comprised of previous recipients, who represent a range of economic sectors, fields of endeavor, and regions across the country. From hundreds of nominations, the jury selects ten career achievement award recipients, three youth award recipients (First Nation, Inuit, and Métis), and one lifetime achievement award. Recipients are selected through a process that is based on the highest merits of fairness, honesty, and respect to all of the highly-deserving nominees.

About Indspire

Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the goal of closing the gap in Indigenous education. Through the K-12 Institute, it provides resources to educators, communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 success for Indigenous youth. Since its inception in 1985, Indspire has awarded $79 million through almost 25,000 bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous students, making it the largest funder of Indigenous education outside the federal government. Each year, the organization presents the Indspire Awards, a gala celebration of the successes achieved by Indigenous people that is broadcast nationally.

SOURCE Indspire

For further information: For media passes or more information, please contact: Betsy Chaly, VP of Communications & Marketing, bchaly@indspire.ca, Office: 416.987.0260, Cell: 647.992.2617

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